five on friday (06/30)

It’s super late and I should be in bed, but I have a hard time letting a Friday go by without listing five great things from the week!

ONE. The biggest event of the week- our second sweet princess turned 3 years old! We had her party last weekend, but on her real birthday, we went out to the local bakery and treated her to any cookie she wanted. She, of course, chose one that had a 10:1 frosting to cookie ratio. A girl after my own heart! She was beaming as we sang “happy birthday” to her right in the middle of the mall. We went to play on the indoor playground afterward. I love how the simple things are her favorites.

TWO. Grandma came down for Kaelyn’s party, and stayed for a couple of days at the start of the week. We had a nice long walk and some time at the playground and in the yard with her. These girls sure love their Grandma Debbie (even if I could only convince two of them to get into a photo with her)…

THREE.ย My garden is growing! For real! I’m amazed to see these plants growing so big, and I’m actually getting kind of attached to them, so here’s to hoping that nothing comes along and eats them. There’s no produce yet, but I have a couple of cucumber plants… … some green beans… …and one lone cherry tomato plant. I’m so excited to hopefully see some food growing on these soon!

FOUR. What’s cuter than a baby in just a tank top and her diaper? One of my favorite things about summer is being able to leave her arms and legs bare so I can see those squishy little rolls of hers! Baby chub is the best.

Also, these little toes!

FIVE. It’s been a while since Freyja and Claire have graced the blog with their presence, so here they are in all their fuzzy glory. Kaya and Kaelyn helped me give them a little “spa night” a couple weeks ago, where they had baths and got their nails clipped. The pigs didn’t enjoy the process, but I can tell you that they do like to feel clean when it’s all done. Claire reminds me of a little teddy bear!Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (08/05)

ONE. We’ve been enjoying cooler, less humid evenings this week! The weather last weekend was just perfect for bringing the guinea pigs outside to enjoy some fresh air and nibble on grass. It was their first time out, and I think they really loved it!

Kaya and Kaelyn thought it was so much fun to have Freyja and Claire “playing” outside with them. Kaelyn repeatedly came up to them, pet them, and softly saidย “awwwwwww”!

TWO. We did the letter B for preschool this week, which entailed some super-fun sensory play! I filled up the water table with some rainbowย bubbles (the idea is from here, although I used liquid food coloring, and the colors disappeared pretty quickly once the girls started playing with it). They had a blast mixing, whisking, scooping, and finding all the hidden rubber ducks for over an hour.


THREE. I have a new favorite double chocolate chip muffin recipe! I’ve made these a few times now, and have figured out that they’re just as good with half the amount of sugar and some of the chocolate chips reserved for sprinkling on top. Mmmm!

FOUR. This girl and her dress-up outfits… I think my dinosaur-fox-princess-ballerina is ready for the runway!08022016_1

FIVE. There’s nothing like a girl and her… frog?! Apparently, his name is “Buggy Froggy” (because frogs eat bugs, obviously), and Kaya has been bringing him everywhere all week long. I love my little stuffed animal lovers.

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (1/08)

I think I just keep pretending we’re still on vacation… so I know I still haven’t posted any photos from our Christmas day yet (maybe because I took too many and still haven’t gone through them all… ha), but we had a good week, and I couldn’t let it go undocumented.

These small, seemingly-mundane posts usually turn out to be some of my favorites when I go back and read them later.

ONE. Winter has finally arrived on our little hillside- we had our first snow! It didn’t really accumulate, but it came down in big, fluffy flakes, so I’m counting it. The girls were quite excited… especially Kaelyn, since she is too young to remember the many blizzards we had last year!

TWO. What better food to eat during the cold weather than warm, gooey pancakes? Kaya and Kaelyn have had pancakes for breakfast every single day this week. My mom gave me a griddle for Christmas, so I put it to good use by making a double batch of these and freezing them._MG_0687

THREE. We also tried a couple of new recipes this week, including these buffalo chicken wings and these cheesy potatoes. Both were keepers!FOUR. We did get back on track with our homeschool preschool this week, after taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. Kaya has been SO excited and asks me to “do school” almost as soon as she wakes up every morning. We did the letter “D” and so of course, we had to make a “dog” craft.


FIVE. We had some fun times with Karl (and Kaitlyn) this week! Mario Kart Wii and Apples to Apples Pictures will never get old. I also love that Karl loves my guinea pigs as much as I do!_MG_0684Happy weekend! Keep warm (like Freyja)! ๐Ÿ™‚_MG_0708

five on friday (10/09)

Happy Friday! Our week felt busy and flew by. Here are my favorite little moments:

ONE. Every morning when I get her out of her crib, she always has the biggest grin, and sleepy, happy eyes. ย I love lifting her up into a big hug and planting a bunch of smooches on those soft baby cheeks of hers._MG_9465_MG_9467

TWO. Michael’s parents were here at the beginning of the week, and took us out to Cracker Barrel one night! I had my fill of my favorite mac and cheese, and Kaya actually ate a TON of food. Win win. She also loved playing the littleย peg puzzle game.

THREE. If you go to Cracker Barrel, you are required to goof around in their store before and/or after the meal. Kaya had fun trying on a Halloween witch’s hat! (photocredit to my Dad-in-law, obviously, because I was too busy photobombing this with my legs…) ๐Ÿ™‚

FOUR. Someone figured out how to ride the rocking horse on her own (although she still needs help getting on and off), and she’s in love. One more horse girl for the family! ๐Ÿ˜‰_MG_9471 FIVE. Because guinea pigs and burlap and fall flowers all together are pretty much an explosion of cute._MG_9480

Happy weekend!

Linking up here today!

five on friday (09/11)

Happy Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here we go…

ONE. Big, big, big news- my baby is walking!!! She took her first steps on Wednesday, and I’m so proud. She uses something to support herself (usually the toy shopping cart), but hey, she’s moving, and I think she isn’t far from doing it all on her own._MG_9204TWO. Of course, I can’t tell you she’s walking without showing you a video, too. She’s surprisingly quick!

A video posted by Tara (@tarairwin) on

THREE. Our new favorite spot to hang out lately is in the den with the guinea pigs! Both girls can sit in there for long periods of time (long by toddler standards, anyway), just watching them. Kaya loves to read them books and is even sure to show them the pictures._MG_9226Kaya’s got a heart like her mama, no doubt about it. Animals are so special to her.collage09112015_1

FOUR. We have one more week until Kaya’s birthday! It’s been so much fun to see her get so excited about it this year. She talks about it every day and just can’t wait for family to come celebrated with us. We picked up some party supplies this morning… can you tell what the theme is? ๐Ÿ™‚

FIVE. This little girl was totally a no-nap ninja yesterday… but she’s still so cute, even when she’s sad and cries big crocodile tears. Just look at that lip! At least I got cuddles. ๐Ÿ™‚Happy Friday!

Linking up here today!

five on friday (09/04)

Happy Labor Day weekend! We are soaking up the last of these summer days ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s our top five from this week:

ONE. Kaya is suddenly obsessed with rainbows, so much so that she keeps telling me she wants a rainbow birthday cake… with a cat on top. Of course. She became a crazy cat lady at the record age of 2.

We’ve been playing with sidewalk chalk a lot lately, so this week, we made a rainbow together. She was over the moon. I love my happy girl.
TWO. We also tried out the big kid playground this week… and Kaya can climb this shaky bridge with no problem now. She’s been asking to go back nearly every day since. I still can’t believe my little baby has grown into such a big girl so fast.
THREE. Speaking of babies growing up, take a look at this little girl sporting her tiny ponytail! It totally makes her look so much older, and all I can think of when I see this photo is a line from my favorite Sara Evans song: “our little ponytail girl, grown up to be a woman, and she’s gone in the blink of an eye”. A couple more blinks of the eye and she really will be all grown up.
_MG_9159FOUR. These sisters love doing almost everything together, and this week, Kaya asked to hold Baba as they went down the slide. I hope she’s always so willing to help her baby sister and that they always love doing things together.
FIVE. Michael isn’t the seminary teacher anymore (he was released just before the start of the school year), but I was asked by the new teacher to make them some surprise cinnamon rolls for breakfast this week. It’s my mom-in-law’s recipe, and it must have left a lasting impression the last time I made them, because all the students were so excited to have them again. I’m so glad I got to do something for these kids who wake up at the crack of dawn every day to attend seminary.
And for all the guinea pig lovers… happy “wheek-end” from Freyja ๐Ÿ™‚_MG_9173

Linking up here today!

five on friday (08/28)

Happy Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

ONE. Monday morning had a slow start! After all our traveling last week, we’ve been a little extra tired. Kaya likes to snuggle up to me while I’m nursing the baby, and lately, she’s made herself even more comfortable by putting her pillow over my legs. I know she might not always want to cuddle her mom, so I’m soaking this up while it lasts.TWO. Our friend Katie surprised us with this gorgeous orchid! It’s the most vivid blue flower I’ve ever seen, and I love how it brightens up the room! It’s supposed to be pretty foolproof as far as care goes, so here’s to a (hopefully) long-lasting relationship with this beauty._MG_9104 THREE. So this must be the reason I had two kids…_MG_9117 …even if the end result is a giant mess! ๐Ÿ™‚_MG_9122FOUR. These little baby piggies are growing so fast already! They had their first baths this week and look better than brand new. ๐Ÿ™‚

Claire is still a little shy… ๐Ÿ™‚_MG_9133FIVE. We kicked off our Friday with sidewalk chalk! Kaya loves creating and even tried to make a rainbow. Kaelyn just loved tasting the chalk.. haha. Playing outside with my girls is definitely one of my favorite things.

Happy weekend! What are your plans?

Linking up here!

freyja and claire

We’re back from (almost) a week of traveling and visiting our families! We left town with four family members in our car…

…and came back with six! We added two furry little guinea pig babies to our family! Meet Freyja and Claire!
They are about 6-8 weeks old and most likely sisters. They definitely enjoy each other’s company and have been caught snuggling many times already. If we hold Claire by herself, she’ll usually start “wheeking” (that’s guinea pig language) for Freyja until she knows where she is.

Claire seems to be slightly more dominant thus far. Both are very outgoing, but Freyja is a bit more social. She’s comfortable enough with people to nearly doze off while being held.Kaya is so happy to have pets again (after a hiatus of two months), and has been so loving and gentle toward them. She loves helping me feed them and asks to see and hold them all the time._MG_9062 Michael finished building their cage last night, so they’ve been adjusting to that and have enjoyed jumping around in it. They seem so tiny next to the food bowls!_MG_9097